Today’s post is a follow-up to a store-bought snack list that I published last year. As dedicated as we are to eating real food and cooking meals from scratch, who doesn’t want a break from the kitchen? So here are several more of the “least-processed” store-bought snacks we could find that are great interspersed with fruits, veggies, and other whole foods. Most of these items are included on the “Supermarket Real Food Cheat Sheet,” but I thought I would take the time to highlight some of our favorites.
All of these products happen to be crunchy and 100% whole-grain (or whole food in the case of the potato chips) so hopefully they will add a little “real food” variety to your pantry. But as a reminder, when you are shopping around for these items never make any decisions based solely on the “whole-grain” health-claims on the front of the package. Always (and I mean always) verify what the product is made of by reading the ingredient label on the back. In the case of crunchy snacks some of the key ingredients to look for are “whole wheat,” “whole grain,” and/or “brown rice.” If the ingredient list contains any “wheat” or “rice” it is not 100% whole-grain so keep on looking!
These crackers don’t quite meet the 5-ingredient rule (which was one of our 100-day pledge rules), but they are one of the few cracker options out there made with 100% whole-wheat. So now that we don’t have to be quite as strict as we were during our real food pledge we indulge in these tasty sesame crackers often.
Where to find them: I’ve found them available at most stores.
Whole-Wheat Matzo Crackers
I’ve actually been buying Matzo crackers for years to make one of my daughters’ most favorite breakfast dishes: Pan-Fried Matzo. So I was very pleased to learn that some brands offer a whole-wheat variety. And talk about finding the “least-processed” store-bought foods possible…these crackers only have 2 ingredients (one of them being water)! It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Aside from turning these crackers into a breakfast dish we also love to top them with goodies like pesto, goat cheese, tomatoes, pb&j, egg salad, and melted cheddar. Plus I wouldn’t want to forget to mention one of my favorite dinner dishes that we make with mashed up matzo crackers: Matzo Ball Soup. Yum!
Where to find them: In Charlotte I cannot find the whole-wheat variety at Earth Fare, but they have two different brands available at Harris Teeter.
Kettle Baked Potato Chips
I must give a blog reader credit for telling me about these chips. I researched “baked” potato chips long ago, but I must have only looked at the “Baked Lays” brand, which is a chip-like concoction made from modified food starch, sugar, soy lecithin, and dextrose (among other things). So when someone emailed to tell me how great Kettle Brand “Baked” Chips were I just assumed it was the same scenario and they’d made a mistake. You can imagine my surprise in the chip aisle when I finally got my hands on a bag and realized there was no mistake. These chips are in-fact baked and made with the same three core ingredients as the deep-fried variety: potatoes, oil, and salt. Which makes them taste much more like the real thing than the Baked Lays version. Believe it or not these chips would even be allowed on the 10-day pledge. Hooray for being able to eat chips again!
Where to find them: I’ve found them available at most stores including Earth Fare, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.
Unique Whole Grain Pretzels
Out of all the different brands and varieties of pretzels sold it blows my mind that there aren’t more “100% whole-grain” options. In fact, these Unique Sprouted 100% Whole Grain “Splits” are one of only two whole-wheat pretzels that I could even find. The other choice is from Trader Joe’s, but they contain a small amount of corn syrup and I don’t think they taste as good as the Unique brand. The problem with these “splits” though is that I used to buy them from Earth Fare and they recently stopped selling them! So I guess I have no other choice than to occasionally stock up by ordering them online because we really miss having a good store-bought whole-grain pretzel around!
Where to find them: Unique carries quite a few different varieties of pretzels, but the “splits” are the only ones I’ve found that are 100% whole-grain. Aside from ordering online, I am told that you might be able to find their “splits” at The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and/or Wegmans.
Brown Rice Crackers
Since our family has no medical reason to be eating “gluten-free” I used to skip over the rice, spelt, and other wheat-alternative crackers. It wasn’t until I created the “Supermarket Real Food Cheat Sheet” that I realized there are actually a lot of good whole-grain cracker options in that section. And when you are tired of Triscuits and desperate for something new and “exciting” brown rice crackers start to sound pretty awesome! My older daughter especially loves the pictured Tamari Brown Rice Crackers, but my husband thinks they are a little high in sodium. My 6-year-old even nicknamed them “salt crackers” if that tells you anything. So I don’t buy them every week (they are also a little pricey), but I’ve found that they are great for an occasional treat or mixed into a homemade trail mix to help spread out the saltiness and the cost! The trick is to make sure you buy crackers that list “brown rice” or “brown rice flour” as the main ingredient. Anytime rice is colored (brown, black, red, etc.) it means that it’s whole-grain!
Where to find them: I’ve found them available at Earth Fare.
Brown Rice Cakes
I am sure you’ve all heard of rice cakes. Whether you are a fan or not “Brown Rice Cakes” are 100% whole-grain and therefore another great addition to this list of crunchy snacks. Just as I mentioned with the brown rice crackers, as long as the ingredient list says “brown” in front of the word rice it means they are whole-grain. We like to top these cakes with hummus or peanut butter or mix them up into a trail mix as well. They aren’t our most favorite item on this list, but again when you are craving some variety it is good to have options!
Where to find them: I’ve found them available at Earth Fare.